Egypt: Brothers get routed in student elections

Results for student elections taking place in Egyptian universities this week suggest the Muslim Brotherhood, normally one of the best-organized and most successful political movements in student politics, has lost much ground. This tends to confirm and accelerate trends first seen last year of new political movements on campus becoming more popular, as well as some good coalition-building between radicals, leftists, liberals and others to face challenges by Brothers and the Salafis. The trend has also been seen in professional syndicates over the last year, and may also grow this year. This should be striking, as one would expect the Brotherhood to reap the benefits of being the party in power. But the opposite is happening, and the failure of the Brotherhood to win a majority in a single election yesterday (although of course there will be more) is telling of the discontent with them.

Three things stand out to me other than the Brothers' relatively poor performance:

  1. Coalitions of non-Islamist political trends seem to work quite well, suggesting it is worth it for them to contest elections;
  2. I think the formation of Salafi factions on campus is a new thing (someone tell me if I'm wrong — Update: Assiut of course had strong Gamaa Islamiya presence in university), and they are doing well in places (like Minya in Upper Egypt), possibly at the expense of the MB.
  3. In several places the Destour Party (of Mohamed ElBaradei) is running in coalitions or alone and doing quite well — which shows that contrary to the prevalent armchair punditry that they are getting out there and mobilizing to some extent.

How does this translate in a national election? It's not clear. Obviously university students are more educated and live in an urban environment (although many, of course, will come from a rural background — or what passes as rural in one of the mostly densely populated countries in the world.) They are not that representative of the national whole, and vote for different reasons. The Brotherhood's electoral machine alone, depending on who else is running, makes its goal of winning an outright majority in the upcoming parliamentary within reach — although I think it's a longshot.

Below are results of elections in various university faculties, culled by Nour The Intern from the @afteegypt Twitter account which has been doing some sterling coverage of student politics.

 

Student election results, 2013-Mar-05.

El-Minia University:

  •  Faculty of Arts’ student union’s election results for 2013: 26.79% for “We are all one” - civil movement. 23.21% for “Construction” (affiliated with MB), and 50% for “Life Pulse” list, Salafi movement. Fourth year: 5 to "We are all one," 3 for "Life Pulse" and 6 for the MB.
  • Faculty of Information Technology’s student union’s election results for 2013: 57.1% for "Developers" (civil movement), and 42.86% for "Construction" (affiliated with MB).
  • Third year, Art: 5 for "We are all one" (civil movement), 2 for MB, one for the Salafis.
  • Faculty of Education, 33 seats for civil movement, 23 for MB.
  • Dentistry: 50% for "We are All One" and 50% for MB.

Tanta University:

  • Faculty of Law: 38 seats for the civil movement, 11 for the MB, 4 for the "We are all one hand" family, 2 for the independent, and one for the Family of Colors.
  • Engineering: coalition between al-Dostor, the Revolution Contiues and independents get 39 seats, MB gets 27, Salafis get 2.
  • Business: coalition between al-Dostor and A Strong Egypt, and independents gets 52 seats, other independents get 3, and MB gets one.
  • Agriculture: 37 for coalition of independents vs. 19 for MB.
  • Dentistry: al-Dostor and independents get 34, other independents get 23 seats, MB gets 3, and 10 seats are supposed to be appointed.
  • Art: civil coalition gets 47, independents get 8, and MB one.
  • Pharmacy: al-Dostor and independents get 45, and other independents get 25 seats.
  • Science: 41% for Dostor and independent, 14.29% for other independents, 44% MB.

Alexandria University:

  • Faculty of Pharmacy student union’s election results for 2013: 32.86% for civil movement for change and awareness, 32.86% for "Pharma Mix" (affiliated with MB), 5.71% for others, and 28.57% for independent runners. First year results: civil movement got 7 seats, the independent got 3, and Pharma mix (affiliated with MB) got 4 seats. Second year: 12 for the independent, 2 for the MB. Third year: 9 for the MB, 5 for the independent. Fourth year: 6 for the civil movement, 6 for the MB, 2 for others.
  • Third year, (faculty of art): 3 seats for "Strong literature" (Strong Egypt), 4 for regular students, 6 for MB.
  • Fourth year art students: 12 for the "Voice of the students" (a coalition of student movements and families), no seats for MB.
  • First year, (faculty of law): 11 seats for "Challenge and Change" (Dostor and popular current coalition), 2 seats for independents, 1 for the "Voice of students" (coalition of Kefaya and Masraweya family) 
  • Fourth year, Engineering: independents get 14 seats, MB none.
  • Education, 53.57% MB. 46.3% for "Leaders of the Future" (civil movement),
  • Engineering, 58.57% for independent candidates, 41.43% for MB.

Banha University:

  • 65.11% for "The Values" (civil), 24.66% for al-Dostor and independent candidates, 4.43% MB, 0.57% for Salafis, 5.23% for Strong Egypt.

Ain Shams University:

  • Fifth year medical school: 9 for "A strong Egypt," 3 for the MB, and 2 for the independent. Third year: MB gets 6 seats, independent get 8. Fourth and sixth year: a coalition of Al-Dostor party, the Democratic Party, and the Socialist Revolutionaries wins 28 seats, MB gets nothing.
  •  Faculty of Science,, First and third year: revolutionary forces' coalition gets 24 seats, independent get 4, MB gets nothing.
  • First year, Engineering: "fingerprint" (coalition of al-Dostor, Socialist Revolutionaries, Democratic party, Students for Freedom) take all seats.
  • First year, Business: Coalition "No sheep" wins all seats, "Ultras for change" don't win any. 

Beni Suef University:

  • Science, fourth year: Independents get 9 seats, MB gets 6. Third year, the independent get all the seats. 
  • Law, third year: 6 seats for the independent, 3 for the Salafis, and 3 for MB. Remaining 2 seats a run off between Salafis and Brothers.
  • Art, 10 seats for MB, 2 for others,and 2 for Salafis.
  • Business, fourth year: 12 for MB, 2 for Salafis and 2 for independent.
1 Comment

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.